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Asian Institute of Digital Finance Established in Singapore to Strengthen FinTech Education and Research

fintech icon on abstract financial technology background represent Blockchain and Fintech Investment

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) announced in a press release on 4th August 2020 that they will be setting up a research institute to develop deep capabilities supporting the demands of digital financial services in Asia.

The Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) will provide thought leadership and strengthen the ties between education, research and entrepreneurship in digital finance. The Institute aims to be running by the end of this year.

Professor Tan Eng Chye, NUS President, said, “FinTech is making a profound impact on financial services, and will continue to drive the transformation of the financial services industry in Singapore, which is an integral part of Singapore’s ambition to be a Smart Nation. NUS is deeply honoured to partner MAS and NRF to achieve the vision of AIDF – the first of its kind in Singapore and this region, which takes an integrative approach to education, research, innovation and business incubation. NUS’ thought leadership in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing, and data science makes us perfectly positioned to address the challenges of the digital economy in Singapore and other parts of the world.”

Asian Institute of Digital Finance to offer large range of FinTech subjects

Hosted at NUS, AIDF will offer a Master’s programme and award scholarships to top students to pursue research at the doctoral level, as well as train post-doctoral fellows in Digital Finance and FinTech. Through its education programme, the AIDF will build the FinTech leadership pipeline for Singapore and the wider region.

The AIDF faculty will bring together deep expertise in Finance, Technology and other disciplines that are critical to integrating financial services with technology. These include: Finance domain: Payments, Credit & Lending, Financial Advisory & Wealth, Management, Retail & Corporate banking and Financial Markets. Technology domains: Digital Architecture, Digital Platforms, Big Data, Distributed Technology, Tokenisation, Cloud Computing, UX/UI design, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Research will include AI, Machine learning and Next-Gen Financial Services

AIDF will pursue foundational and inter-disciplinary research projects covering fundamental digital infrastructure, performance optimisation of business processes, and advanced application development research on cyber, fraud and anti-money laundering challenges. The institute will also develop financial services to meet sustainability and
resiliency needs.

Potential areas of focus include: Digital Assets and Ledger Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Digital Finance Platforms, Green Finance Technology and Next-Gen Financial Services on 5G networks.

Professor Low Teck Seng, NRF Chief Executive Officer, said: “AIDF will help build strong FinTech research capabilities in Singapore, and commercialise high-impact research ideas to deliver practical and innovative solutions for the market. It will leverage on NUS’ regional and global networks involving local and foreign universities and research institutes to generate and testbed FinTech solutions for the Asian markets. More importantly, AIDF will also groom next-generation FinTech leaders that will strengthen Singapore’s Smart Nation core.”

“Fincubator” programme will promote entrepreneurship

The regional research institute will also establish a unique “Fincubator” programme that will promote entrepreneurship and provide the support to drive transformation of ideas and projects by promising students and entrepreneurs into market-ready products and services.

Potential areas of focus include:Applied research for commercialisation, Incubation of financial solutions to solve unmet digital financial service needs of Asia, Industry collaboration to provide comprehensive mentorship to build marketready solutions and Strengthened linkages with investor community to spur research

Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, said, “AIDF will be an important addition to Singapore’s rich and vibrant FinTech ecosystem. Through applied research and active collaboration with industry, AIDF will help to build strong capabilities in digital finance and FinTech. Located in the heart of the fastest-growing digital finance market in the world, the Institute will facilitate the expansion of knowledge and skills among FinTech leaders in the region and support the digitalisation of economies in ASEAN and beyond.”


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